News for the Week of March 21, 2016 – March 27, 2016

Mears, Unser Jr. Luyendyk, and Hinch hold entertaining forum in NYC – INDYCAR has a nice report on “A Celebration of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500″, a forum on Broadway featuring “four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears, two-time 500 winners Al Unser Jr. and Arie Luyendyk, and someone who hopes to earn his first “500” win this May, James Hinchcliffe.” Way too good to shorten. Check it out at the link. – INDYCAR – (3/24/2016)

Indy 500 tix sales strong; Nabors not returning for race – The Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin posted a nice report today with updates on the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. IMS President Doug Boles told Cavin that reserved ticket sales for this year are already ahead of last year’s totals and that Jim Nabors will not be attending the race this year. “He wants to come, but he reached out to us at the end of last fall and said he couldn’t,” Boles said. – Indianapolis Star – (3/24/2016)

Chilton gets engaged – Max Chilton announced his engagement to now fiancee Chloe Roberts on Twitter on Thursday. Pictures from Chilton at the link. – Max Chilton – (3/24/2016)

Desert Diamond West Valley named as Phoenix title sponsor – “Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber today announced newly-opened Desert Diamond West Valley as the title sponsor for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to the Valley of the Sun this spring. The Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix takes place under the lights Saturday evening, April 2, 2016.” More at the link. – Phoenix Int’l Raceway – (3/24/2016)

INDYCAR app now available internationally – “The INDYCAR Mobile App is going international. The 2016 version of the smartphone application puts Verizon IndyCar Series fans in the driver’s seat with a wide array of features that take the fan experience to the next level. It is available for both Android and iOS devices and is now available globally. Previously available only via carriers in the United States, the INDYCAR Mobile App is now accessible in all countries except Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.” – INDYCAR – (3/23/2016)

Carlin considering entry in this year’s 500 – Carlin owner Trevor Carlin told RACER’s Marshall Pruett that his team has “been contacted by at least one Indy 500 entrant to assist in running its program in May.” “We’d be ready to help and can put a great team together for someone if it happens,” Carlin told RACER. “The aspiration for IndyCar is still there, and we like to do things in a step by step manner. We’ve made a commitment to America, we’ve expanded from two Indy Lights cars last year to three and have the ability to run a fourth, and we’ve now moved into our own facility in Florida in Delray Beach…If we were able to begin a relationship with IndyCar at Indianapolis this year, it would be fantastic, and even if that does not work out, it is still our goal to enter the series as soon as it is feasible to do so.” – RACER – (3/23/2016)

Kurt Busch rules himself out of 500 seat – From Kurt Busch himself: “After seriously contemplating making another run at “The Double”, and in response to the many questions I receive on the subject as the Month of May approaches, I wanted to state that I will not be participating in this year’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. I must say this was not an easy decision and it does not in any way reflect upon my desire to compete again in one of the world’s greatest races…My experience with Andretti Autosport and its drivers was so very positive and the way in which the IndyCar fans and media welcomed me, it is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career both personally and professionally. Fortunately, Michael and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have left the door open for a future run, and perhaps one day I will take them up on that, it just won’t be this year.” – Kurt Busch – (3/23/2016)

Miller Q&A 3/23/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (3/23/2016)

Trackside podcast 3/22/16 – 1070 The Fan’s popular Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 3/22/16 is a great listen as always. The duo recaps all of the latest INDYCAR news on a surprisingly busy day in the sport. – 1070 The Fan – (3/23/2016)

Bell, Chaves, Legge, and Vickers contenders for third seat at SPM for 500 – “RACER has learned current Stewart-Haas Racing Sprint cup driver Brian Vickers, who is filling in for the injured Tony Stewart, nine-time Indy 500 starter Townsend Bell, the new Grace Autosport team, and 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series/Indy 500 RoY Gabby Chaves are in the running for SPM’s available Dallara DW12-Honda.” “Those four are on the list, and we’d really like to run any of those people,” Schmidt Peterson Motorsport owner Sam Schmidt told RACER. – RACER – (3/22/2016)

Hildebrand back with Ed Carpenter Racing for both IMS races – “Preferred Freezer Services (PFS), a global leader in advanced design and engineered temperature-controlled warehouses, announced today an expansion of their partnership with Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR). JR Hildebrand will return to the team for the Month of May, joining Josef Newgarden in carrying the blue and white Preferred Freezer Services colors at the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Additionally, PFS will be the primary partner on Newgarden’s No. 21 at the Grand Prix of Boston and the Honda Indy Toronto, site of his second win in 2015. PFS will also be an associate on the No. 21 car for all of the remaining events, while team owner Ed Carpenter will carry the famous PFS polar bear on his firesuit the entire Verizon IndyCar Series season.” – ECR – (3/22/2016)

Menards to sponsor Team Penske No. 22 at IMS races & Road America – “Team Penske announced today that Menards, the industry-leading home improvement store company with locations throughout the Midwest, will sponsor the No. 22 car and driver Simon Pagenaud for two races during the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series, including this year’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29th. Menards will adorn the side of the No. 22 Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet both at the Indy 500 as well as the series’ return to Road America in June. The company will also be an associate sponsor on the No. 22 Team Penske car for the balance of the 2016 season.” See the livery here. – Team Penske – (3/22/2016)

Honda Indy Toronto announces new pit layout and puts tickets on sale – Honda Indy Toronto organizers made their plans for a revised pit lane official and announced tickets for the event were officially on sale on Monday. Check out the new circuit map at the link. “Pit lane will move to the north side of the track, starting at Turn 9 and extending back onto Princes’ Boulevard past Turn 11. The popular hospitality suites will also move to the north side. Both were previously located on the south side of Princes’ Boulevard. The Turn 11 grandstands will be located on the south side of pit lane and a new pedestrian and wheelchair track crossing has been added at Turn 9.” – Honda Indy Toronto – (3/22/2016)

Cavin announces Burger Bash details – “Announcing this year’s Steak ‘n Shake Carb Night Burger Bash, a free IndyStar event celebrating the Indianapolis 500 on Friday, May 27. The Burger Bash will be held downtown for the first time in its nine-year history. The event will be held at The Pavilion at Pan Am, the former ice rink at Pan Am Plaza. At its core, the Burger Bash is a driver-centered show co-hosted by IndyStar reporter Curt Cavin and veteran broadcaster Kevin Lee. Among the IndyCar drivers expected to attend are Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Ed Carpenter…The Pavilion doors will open at 5 p.m. with the live show beginning at 6:30 p.m. There will be auction and raffle items supporting a local non-profit, plus numerous surprises.” – Indianapolis Star – (3/22/2016)

Trans Am to return to Belle Isle INDYCAR weekend – “It was announced today that the Trans Am Series will race at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, June 3-5, 2016.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016, the Trans Am Series will return to Detroit for the first time in 15 years as it last raced on Belle Isle in 2001. The Trans Am cars will host two invitational races on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5 at the 2.3-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park street circuit.” – – (3/21/2016)

INDYCAR Sebring recap – INDYCAR has posted a good recap of how their drivers performed in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring over the weekend. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, Spencer Pigot, Townsend Bell, and Ryan Briscoe all drove in the event. – INDYCAR – (3/21/2016)

Daly takes part in Phoenix promo – Rookie Conor Daly recently traveled to Phoenix as part of an INDYCAR promotions tour and got to take part in special activities at a Phoenix Coytotes game and meet with local media to talk about the upcoming INDYCAR weekend. “It’s cool to talk to people like that because obviously they’ve put in the work and the hours of time dedicated to their sport that I try to dedicate to mine,” said Daly. “There’s a cool mutual respect there between athletes. I’ve always wanted to do something like this. I’ve always seen drivers for so many years get cool exchanges, cool stuff like that. Crazy different things, and I’m like, ‘Someday I want to be a part of that.’ And this was my first one, so I’m excited to have it.” – INDYCAR – (3/21/2016)

Honda willing to help with addition of third manufacturer – Bruce Martin reports that Honda is on the record with their willingness to help facilitate the addition of a third engine/aero kit manufacturer for the Verizon IndyCar Series “We were always looking for competition, and that we would help new manufacturers come into the series,” said Honda Performance Development president Art St Cyr. “We did the same thing when Chevy wanted to come in; we showed them, ‘this is what we’re doing’. ‘Here’s what the engine rule kit and the rule package looks like’, and we would make alterations to that rule package to accommodate other manufacturers.” – AUTOSPORT – (3/21/2016)

Foyt names Tagliani as third driver for both IMS races – “Alfe Heat Treating will sponsor the No. 35 Honda Dallara to be driven by Alex Tagliani in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, a.k.a. the Indy Double. The number 35 was chosen to honor A.J. Foyt’s record 35 straight starts in the Indianapolis 500—from 1958 through 1992. The car’s livery will evoke memories of the black No. 14 Copenhagen cars that Foyt drove in the latter part of his legendary career.” “We chose the number 35 because it is the number of consecutive starts A.J. had at the Brickyard as well as being A.J.’s birth year, a lucky number,” said Kurt Westman, Founder and CEO of Alfe Heat Treating, Inc. See the livery here. – AJ Foyt Racing – (3/17/2016)

INDYCAR announces Power never had a concussion – “INDYCAR announced today that results of an extensive evaluation at the University of Miami Concussion Program revealed no definitive evidence of a recent concussion for Verizon Team Penske driver Will Power…Power has been cleared to return to Verizon IndyCar Series competition after sitting out race day on-track competition for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 13.” “The doctors at the University of Miami concluded Power’s symptoms were not the result of a concussion, and may have been related to a lingering inner-ear infection for which he was being treated,” said Dr. Terry Trammell, safety consultant to INDYCAR. – INDYCAR – (3/17/2016)

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